Bullet that struck Knoxville officer not from student’s handgun per TBI’s preliminary findings


Police work in the area of Austin-East Magnet High School after a reported shooting Monday, April 12, 2021. Authorities say multiple people including a police officer have been shot at the school. (Brianna Paciorka/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The bullet that struck a Knoxville police officer during an officer-involved shooting at Austin-East Magnet High School on Monday was not fired from a student’s handgun, according to preliminary examinations by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Anthony J. Thompson, Jr, 17, died Monday after he was shot by a Knoxville officer inside a bathroom at the high school.

In an updated press release Wednesday, the TBI said police responded to a report of an armed student at Austin-East and located the student inside of a school restroom. The officers entered the restroom and during a subsequent struggle, the student’s gun was fired, according to TBI. The agency says this was followed by officers firing twice.

“Preliminary examinations indicate the bullet that struck the KPD officer was not fired from the student’s handgun,” TBI said in the release.

The injured police officer is recovering after undergoing surgery, according to the police department.

TBI updated findings:

  • After receiving the report of a student possibly armed with a gun, responding KPD officers located the student inside a school restroom at Austin-East.
  • Officers entered the restroom.
  • During a subsequent struggle, the student’s gun was fired. This was followed by law enforcement firing twice.
  • Preliminary examinations indicate the bullet that struck the KPD officer was not fired from the student’s handgun.

“The role of the TBI in these investigations is to determine the facts based on the evidence and present those facts and evidence to the District Attorney General. During investigations, agents discover facts that may clarify initial reports. This is why our agency uses terms in our releases such as “preliminary,” “possibly,” and “reportedly.” This update provides clarification to the initial information released on this case.”


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